The Avett Brothers perform at a pop-up stage in PNC Arena
The music of North Carolina’s Avett Brothers will come to life next year like never before.
The band’s 2004 album “Mignonette” is the inspiration for a new stage musical called “Swept Away,” set to premiere next summer at California’s Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Like Green Day’s “American Idiot,” Cher’s “The Cher Show” and Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out,” among others, the musical will incorporate the band’s songs as a framework for the story. In this case, “Swept Away” is a shipwreck story set in 1888 off the coast of Massachusetts, according to a news release. Four survivors stand in for the four members of the Avett Brothers band.
The album also is named for a shipwreck from the 1880s, but off South Africa. The true story takes a dark turn, with ballads about cannibalism, according to Paste magazine.
“This new and original story built with our songs has revealed meanings and connections, which Scott and I never could have imagined otherwise,” said Seth Avett in a news release. “Beyond the unique joy and somewhat surreal experience of watching the project develop, it has been an honor to work with everyone involved.”
There’s no word on whether the show might make it to the Avetts’ home state.
The production has some major musical star power. It’s written by John Logan, whose credits include James Bond film “Skyfall” and Oscar winner “Gladiator,” and director Michael Mayer, each Tony winners.
Mayer previously co-created Green Day’s “American Idiot” with frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, which also premiered at the Berkeley Rep a decade ago.
“Bringing The Avett Brothers’ gorgeous songs to life in the context of John Logan’s gut-punch of a ghost story is both a privilege and a thrill,” Mayer said in a release.
“Swept Away” is the biggest Avett Brothers project since their most recent album, the 2017 Grammy-nominated “True Sadness.” The making of that album was the subject of the documentary, “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers,” which was co-directed and proudced by Judd Apatow.
The Concord-based Avetts last performed in Raleigh New Year’s Eve 2017. They’ll be back in North Carolina later this month when they hit MerleFest, the annual music festival in Wilkesboro. The festival is April 25-28, and the Avett Brothers will perform on April 28, the last day of the festival.